CATEGORIES Action, Drama, Foreign Language, Horror, Thrillers, Magnolia, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie, Features, DVDs, CinematicalJohnny To's Exiled grabbed me from its very first musical cue. The twang of a Spaghetti Western guitar reverberates, echoing through the empty streets outside a small home in Macau. Men with murder in mind have come to call on an old colleague. You just know that bullets will fly and blood will flow. As Scott Weinberg wrote, it's a "fast-paced and surprisingly amusing piece from a stunningly prolific Hong Kong moviemaker who really knows his genre stuff." The DVD hits shelves this week from Magnolia, with "making of" and "behind the scenes" features.
The great Bruce Lee made only a few films as an adult before his untimely and way too early death. His first celluloid outings came when he was just a sapling. The Kid features 10-year-old Lee as an orphan who is taken under the wings of a petty thief. A kindly factory owner, played by Lee's real-life father, tries to help him onto the path of the straight and narrow. Peter Nepstad of The Illuminated Lantern (a wonderful site) called it "a great example of early Cantonese cinema, a showcase of a little boy who grows up to become a huge star ... a movie not to be missed." The DVD comes courtesy of Cinema Epoch, though no feature details have surfaced.
Long before Samuel L. Jackson had his fateful encounter with hundreds of slithering reptiles, The Killer Snakes were crawling around cinemas. John Charles of Hong Kong Digital (another great site) described this 1974 Shaw Brothers production as an "incredibly sordid HK thriller [that] mixes gruesome horror, perverse sex, and animal cruelty into a most unsavory brew. ... Even almost 30 years after it was produced, this remains one potent and disturbing little picture." (He wrote his review of the Region 3 DVD several years ago.) Perhaps needless to say, no CGI was used. The newly-released Region 1 DVD from Image Entertainment contains a stills gallery and a collection of Shaw Brothers trailers.